Property division in a divorce happens in three stages. First, the property is classified as either separate property or marital property. Then, the marital property is valued. Finally, the marital property is distributed between the parties.
The first step in determining how to divide property in a divorce is to figure out what property will be divided in the first place.
We care about whether something is defined as separate property or marital property to know whether it will be divided between us and our spouse in a divorce process. Separate property is off the table; it remains entirely with its owner.